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nekovet, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 15725
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian. I am happy to answer any questions you may have on any species.
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He's limping with a swollen back leg. Not that I know of.

Customer Question

He's limping with a swollen back leg.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Did the cat have a fall?
Customer: Not that I know of.
JA: The Veterinarian will ask you more detailed questions to find out what is causing this. It might be a fracture. The Veterinarian will know what to do. What is the cat's name and age?
Customer: Basil and he's around 13 years old.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Basil?
Customer: He's FIV+
Submitted: 20 days ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  nekovet replied 19 days ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

How long has his leg been like this?

Can he bear any weight on it at all?

Has he had outside access?

Any wounds, boney instability or crunching when you feel/palpate the leg?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
His leg has been like this for one day, he bears weight on it very briefly, he does have outside access, I can't see any wounds and I'm too scared of hurting him to palpate the leg. He flinches when I touch near the lower part of his foot.
Expert:  nekovet replied 19 days ago.

Poor lad,

If Basil has swelling of the leg and is that lame, we have 2 concerns. The most common reason for these signs would be a cat bite abscess. And I have to note that if its a back leg, then that usually means they were running away and often this does lead to delayed signs. This is because they are more likely to get severe wounds with lots of bacteria during close fighting, where wounds on the run can lead to smaller bacterial infection in the skin allowing the wound to heal before the infection becomes noticeable. Plus if Basil is FIV+, then he may have ended up with an infection from a bacterial load a negative cat may have cleared with their immune system alone. Otherwise, I'd note that we can see these signs with fractures and if the break is down near the tibia/fibula, then we can see them still use the leg as one bone acts as a splint for the other.

With this all in mind, we need to keep Basil in and rest him. We dont' want him jumping on furniture, using stairs, and just want him generally resting. If he will allow, you can warm compress this for him. And once his vet is open, we'd want him seen. They can start cat safe anti-inflammatories (since human ones are cat toxic) to reduce the swelling and determine which issue is present. If we have infection, then antibiotics may be all we need here, though any large discreet abscesses can be drained. Otherwise, if there is a fracture, then we'd need that xrayed and based on the damage your vet can form a treatment plan (since some need surgery and others can be casted).

Overall, we need to tread with care given Basil's signs. Since it was sudden in onset and he can move it, worrisome issues like hip dislocation, clots blocking blood flow, and spinal damage are less likely. But we do still need to rest him and have his vet take the above approach to get this settled for him.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


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